What you need to know about going to see Sunday's Chicago Marathon

A field of around 40,000 people will test their physical endurance and mental fortitude Sunday during the 44th running of the Chicago Marathon.

An even larger group of people will congregate along the winding race route to offer encouragement and good vibes to those fit and determined enough to run 26.2 miles at a stretch.

Whether you're looking to join the assembled well-wishers or seeking to avoid the congestion and road closures here is what you need to know:

• First wave of racers leave the starting block at the intersection of Columbus Drive and Monroe Street near Grant Park at 7:20 a.m., and more racers will be released onto the course over the subsequent hour and 15 minutes.

• Spectators will be allowed to enter Grant Park starting 9:30 a.m. Those who want to catch the field early will need to set up along the route.

• The course runs through 29 Chicago neighborhoods, extending as far north as Sheridan Road, as far west as Damen Avenue and as far south as 35th Street.

• People are free to cheer on runners most anywhere along the route. Dozens of special areas are set up for spectators to congregate.

• Bank of America, the marathon's main sponsor, will host "cheer zones" near the 5-mile mark at Stockton Drive north of LaSalle Street and at the halfway point, mile marker 13.1, at Wacker Drive and Washington Street.

• A charity block party will be near mile marker 15 at Adams and Laflin streets. More than 50 area organizations and sponsors, including the ALS Association of Greater Chicago and the YMCA of Metro Chicago, also will host cheer parties. A full list can be found here.

The finish line is on the south end of Grant Park on Columbus Drive south of Balbo Drive. Final runners likely will cross the line by around 3 p.m., and race-related street closures are expected to be lifted by 4 p.m.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.